The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread in the spirit of FWSY

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Bread in the spirit of FWSY

12 September, 2014

 One of the attractions of Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast bread baking book is that a concerted study of it will teach you how the important variables of ingredients, time and temperature can be manipulated to produce different flavor profiles and how, keeping most methods constant, you can develop procedures that accommodate to your own schedule and still produce a variety of outstanding breads.

Well, that's the theory. In fact, most of us don't have complete control of ambient temperature, one of the most important variables controlling fermentation. That means results can be very different from those Forkish describes. Nonetheless, if you do understand the basic principles, you can juggle the variables you can control to obtain really outstanding breads using Forkish's formulas and methods.

 In my Central California kitchen, about 9 months of the year, the temperature is significantly higher than it was in Forkish's Portland, Oregon kitchen when he developed his formulas. As a result, fermentation proceeds very much faster than described in the book. An “overnight” bread from FWYS will get way over-fermented if left overnight at room temperature. I have successfully followed Forkish's times only in Winter, when my kitchen temperature runs 65-68ºF.

 On top of that, my personal time demands do not always fit with the schedules Forkish describes in any of his recipes. So, sometimes … well, almost always … , I end up using Forkish's basic approach, but use my ability to control time and temperature to make it work for me. For example …

Today, I baked a couple loaves based on Forkish's “Overnight Country Blonde” formula. It calls for a final levain feeding at 9 am, mixing the final dough at 5 pm, letting it ferment at room temperature overnight, shaping the loaves at 8 am the next morning and baking at noon. I kept the formula (ratio of ingredients) and most procedures the same but altered the time and temperature a lot. Here's what I actually did:

 Three days before baking, at 10 pm, I activated my refrigerated stock starter by mixing 30 g of starter (50% hydration) with 75 g water and 75 g flour (a mix of 70% AP, 20% WW and 10% medium rye).

 Twelve hours later, I fed the levain as follows:

 

Levain ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Mature liquid levain

50

50

AP flour

200

80

WW flour

50

20

Water

200

80

Total

500

230

 

  1. In a medium-size bowl, dissolve the levain the the water. Add the flours, and mix thoroughly.

  2. Transfer to a clean bowl. Cover tightly.

  3. Ferment until moderately ripe. (In my 78ºF kitchen, this took about 6 hours. The levain was tripled in volume. It had a domed surface. In the transparent, plastic container, bubbles could be seen throughout the levain.

  4. Cold retard at 40ºF until the next morning.

 

At about 8 am the next morning, I took the levain out of the refrigerator and let it warm up on the counter. At about 10 am, I proceeded to mix the final dough as follows:

 

Final Dough ingredients

Wt (g)

Levain

216

AP flour

804

WW flour

26

Medium Rye flour

50

Water (90ºF)

684

Salt

22

Total

1802

 

  1. In a 6 L Cambro(R) container, mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass. Cover and let stand for 20-60 minutes. (Autolyse).

  2. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the salt and add the levain in chunks.

  3. Mix by folding the dough over itself while rotating the container, then complete the mixing by the “pinch and fold” method described by Forkish. Wet hands in water as necessary to reduce dough sticking to hands. (I wet my hands very liberally and frequently. My dough weighed 1820g at the time I divided it, implying that using wet hands added 18g of water to the dough. This increased the final dough hydration from 78% to 79.8%.)

  4. Bulk ferment until the dough has increased in volume to 2.5 times with stretch and folds 4 times at 30 minute intervals at the beginning of fermentation. (This took 2 1/2 to 3 hours, in my kitchen.)

  5. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Pre-shape as rounds. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 15-20 minutes.

  6. Shape as boules and place in linen-lined bannetons that have been well dusted with a mix of AP and Rice flours.

  7. Place bannetons in plastic bags and refrigerate overnight. (This was actually from about 4 pm to about 2:30 pm the next day.)

  8. Bake at 475ºF in Dutch ovens, as Forkish describes.

  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before slicing.

 

In summary, I altered Forkish's procedures by drastically shortening the very long, room temperature bulk fermentation and adding a long, cold retardation of the formed loaves. And the levain was also cold retarded overnight.

 Forkish describes the flavor of this bread as having a mild tang that mellows over the first couple days after baking. My bread had a sweet, wheaty flavor and a moderate tang, tasted when just cooled to room temperature. The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was quite chewy. Pretty good stuff.

 

Happy baking!

 

David

Comments

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Looks great, nice crumb and I'm sure it tastes delicious.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

David,

Really really nice........

Jeff

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

bake David.  Well written and easy to follow.  Seems the holes are a bit smaller than your usual San Joaquin or SFSD at 10% whole grains though. 

My only complaint with Forkish's method is his tossing away 66% of the finished levain claiming it is spent fuel and then using the other 44% of the same spent fuel to make the bread :-)  Hopefully you didn't toss the 284 g of extra levain and made 3 extra loaves of bread with it instead.  I think no one would ever be able to tell the difference in the bread if you just built enough levain, using the same process, to end up with 216 g of it rather than the 500 G.  Just can't stand the waste of any food.

Love the 81% hydration with 10% whole grain and the bulk being AP flour.  I'm guessing low quality AP flour bought at the grocery store, at 10% protein, can't stand up to that much water.

I think I would take yor SFSD, Pulglese Capriosso or San Joaquin over this one though.  Well done and happy baking David

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I think I degassed the dough more than usual when I divided and shaped. 

When I was in the Bay Area last month, I picked up an assortment of flours at Central Milling. These loaves were made with CM ABC flour. I think that flour is optimized for baguettes, and it is significantly more extensible than KAF AP/Sir Galahad. Yet, it has plenty of chewiness in the final product. 

I think the long bulk retardation in the SJSD results in some proteolysis and larger holes in the crumb. That is attractive in baguettes. For toast and sandwiches made with sliced bread, I think I prefer the smaller holes to contain toppings, etc. Speaking of which, I am hungry for lunch and need to make a sandwich right now!

David

Kiseger's picture
Kiseger

Beautiful as usual, just love the scoring!  Thanks for this post, interesting to read about your changes to his times, long retard must add flavour!  Always love your posts, so thanks for this one and look forward to more!  This has got to be excellent tasting!  

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

This bread has a really good flavor. As with Forkish's original version, the sourdough tang is decreased the next day, but the other flavors meld and mellow. I like it.

David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Very nice David.  May I feature this for a bit?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Of course! I would be honored to have this featured.

David

balmagowry's picture
balmagowry

You always give me so much to think about! :)

And those loaves are just beautiful.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I appreciate the thought! ;-)

David

chouette22's picture
chouette22

Wow, your breads look absolutely wonderful: the crust, the crumb, the photos. So enticing!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Just finished lunch - a sandwich on this bread. It gets better for a few days.

David

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I have some dough fermenting now. So loosely based on his formula for overnight country brown, it will be a miracle if I get bread. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Pure skill, I'm sure. :-) As long as you have good ingredients, a bit of know how and pay attention to the dough, you get good bread.

David

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Here is how my crazy bread came out.  You can see that our loaves look quite different. 

DulceBHbc's picture
DulceBHbc

You might not know it, but you are my bread guru. I'm consistently blown away by the aesthetics of the loaves and appreciate the thought you put into the narrative behind creating them. Thanks as always!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If I have helped you get half as much pleasure out of bread baking as I do, I'm happy to be your bread guru!

David

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi David,

Love the scoring and crust colors you got on these loaves.  I still use my stand by scoring but some day my trusty serrated knife may deviate…..

Excellent write up as well explaining how one can indeed create wonderful breads using methods that fit into one's own schedule.  I think that is one of the 'tricks' I learned here that really changed how I now bake bread.  It has got to fit into my schedule or it doesn't get baked :)  and, as you pointed out so well, most formulas can easily be adjusted to fit just about anyone's schedule.

Imagine you are entering cooler months now when the heat from your baking will be welcome on chilly days.

Thanks for posting.

Take Care,

Janet

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

golgi70's picture
golgi70

It sure is nice when you can finally look at a formula that is sound but be able to adjust even if it just to suit your schedule.  And doing such with confidence is a good feeling.  Reassures that you have become one with the form.  

Cheers

Josh

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The truth is, I mostly adjusted to the demands of the dough. But, from past experience, I knew in advance what the dough was going to demand. 

If that's becoming "one with the form," I truly have been assimilated. ;-)

If you go back to Julia Child's From Julia Child's Kitchen, published in 1975, and turn to page 149, you will find the section titled "French Breads." This contains the famous 6 pages of instructions for making baguettes and provided the critical inspiration for more than one of the founders of the American artisinal bread movement. If you have never read it, please do yourself a favor and dig it up. It is delightful.

(As I thumb through my copy and turn the pages with stains from sauces, dried bits of dough - Vintage 1975, Boston, MA - and wrinkles from having been wetted and dried, I get really nostalgic.) 

Addressing the American home baker, Julia, as usual demystified without dumbing down the process of getting the best possible flavor from flour, water, yeast and salt. One of the concepts she introduced was refrigerating the dough whenever some other obligation called you away from bread-making. This was not anything more that an accommodation to the realities of her audience, but I won't inflict on you a sociologic analysis of the home baker of the 1970's in America. The point is that tactical refrigeration is very liberating. 'Nuff said. Read this book.

David

veganseeds's picture
veganseeds

a question - after the refrigeration, do you warm your dough back up to room temperature before baking? Or can you keep them cold until the moment of baking?  This would help me a lot in my process, as I use a wood-fired oven and our timing on stoking/heating/ having the dough ready all at the same moment still needs work, and the bread often ends up over-proofed.  Thanks! :)  I hope to try the recipe you posted too - once I know I can get better results! 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

These loaves were left to finish proofing at room temperature for about 90 minutes before baking. I generally shape quite tightly and refrigerate within 30 minutes of shaping. Most loaves rise very little during cold retardation. I judge readiness to bake by the "poke test."

I think you can appreciate from the bloom that these loaves were far from over-proofed.

Many find baking their loaves right out of the fridge works well. I generally bring my breads to nearly full proof prior to baking. Bottom line is do your own tests and use what seems to work best with your bread in your environment.

David

veganseeds's picture
veganseeds

Yes, it's clear that these loaves are far from over-proofed- which is why I had to find out what you were doing from fridge to oven.  Now that I know, I can adjust what I've been doing.  Thanks for the info!

CAphyl's picture
CAphyl

David:  I am definitely going to try this one.  Crust, scoring and crumb are excellent.  Can you do another tutorial on scoring, showing how you did this one?  I really like this pattern and would like to duplicate it.  Thanks for the wonderful instructions as well. Maybe I will make this one here in the UK rather than the baguettes....I have been struggling with a few bakes recently and need a winner.  Thanks for sharing and congratulations on the great bread.  Best,  Phyllis

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I assume the scoring to which you are referring is the loaf at the top of the OP. It's nothing complicated. I did one circumferential cut a bit less than half-way around the loaf and then three evenly spaced cuts on the top at right angles to the the first cut. All cuts were made with a straight razor blade held at right angles to the surface of the loaf.

I hope the verbal explanation is sufficiently clear.

Happy baking!

David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The gradual development of something...  

I just can't help myself!    Lovely loaf, David!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Nice bear claw!

David

Abelbreadgallery's picture
Abelbreadgallery

Congratulations. Nice job.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Whatever you did, those loaves look fabulous, David. 

Khalid

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

tchism's picture
tchism

Spectacular David! Great results from all for sure!

 

MJ Sourdough's picture
MJ Sourdough

Your bread looks amazing! my mouth is watering!

Question: can you offer any more insight into why you decided to cold retard the levain?

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I retarded the levain to fit my schedule. 

Consider this: This method is spread over 3 days, really.  The tasks to be accomplished are:

1. Activate your starter.

2. Mix and ferment the levain.

3. Mix and ferment the final dough.

4. Shape the loaves and proof them.

5. Bake the loaves.

So, we have 5 major steps that need to be accomplished in 3 days. (I don't know how to do it in 2 days, without forgoing more sleep than I want to give up.) 

Without going through all the workable alternative schedules, I'll just say the schedule I chose was not the one Forkish specified, but it was the one that worked best for me. It looked like this:

Day 1

1. Activate my stored starter with one feeding at around 10am.

2. Mix the levain at around 4pm.

3. Retard the levain in the fridge at about 10pm

Day 2

1. Take the levain out of the fridge at about 8am.

2. Mix the flours and water at about 10am. Autolyse for 30 minutes.

3. Add the levain and salt and mix at about 10:30am.

4. Divide the dough and shape the loaves at around 3pm.

5. Retard the loaves in the fridge overnight.

Day 3.

1. Take the loaves out of the fridge at around 8am.

2. Bake the loaves at around 10am.

3. Eat half of one loaf for lunch. Freeze the other half.

4. Take the second loaf to 6:30pm Italian class. Give to teacher, whose birthday it is.

Lots of other stuff gets done while the starter, levain and dough are fermenting - reading articles for a class I'm teaching, doing homework for the Italian class I'm taking, packing for a trip two days after the bake, two trips to various stores on Day 1 and 2, etc. Oh, yeah. No sleep was lost or other necessary stuff put off. 

I hope that explains why I retarded the levain overnight. Note that I might divide the tasks differently on another occasion, if a different schedule works better for me at that time. 

Happy baking!

David

 

 

FlyinAggie's picture
FlyinAggie

I'm going to hang out here for the next year, just soaking it all up.  I won't be able to practice what I learn because I'm having hand reconstruction surgery on Thursday, and the Zo will have to take care of our bread needs for up to a year while I regain full function.  I hope the Hubs can learn the tangzhong method I just learned and practiced these last few weeks; he has never cooked in the 48 years we've been married!  In my fondest dreams he would learn to love to bake, and bake some of these fabulous loaves.  My mouth waters as I admire them, and you, and all the incredible advice I find here.  Thank you for sharing all the knowledge and the pictures of your artistry!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And good luck with your hand surgery!

David

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I love the looks of this loaf. That crust is has just the deep brown that just calls out to me. 

Really glad you posted this one it looks terrific!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

It tastes good too! 

David

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I don't doubt that! That is the the hard part about just seeing good looking loaves is the inability to taste!

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Beautiful bread.

I'm an advocate that we make "book-breads" our own. I don't think Forkish went far enough encouraging us to do that, despite his claim it was a goal writing his book.  Making it my own, for me, includes customized scheduling, scaling, alternative equipment, and personalized procedures.

I prefer to build levain from refrigerator stored culture with three builds over 24 hours. Like you, I always schedule to get a good night's sleep. There's only two of us here; many book-formulae are just too big. I noticed you didn't use a 12 liter bucket; I neither own one, nor intend to buy one. I own four Dutch Ovens; I've yet to bake a single loaf in any of them. I routinely use my stand mixer to initialize gluten development; subsequently, I prefer bench S&F unless the dough is exceedingly wet.

David, as always, great write up, great commentary and advice, and, of course, great bread.

Regards,

David G

 

 

 

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We home bakers don't have the burden of customers who are going to complain if our Pain au je ne sais quoi  today is a bit different from the loaf they bought last week. My spouse has no expectations other than good flavor, and it's better if it is made mostly with whole grain flours.

I always have in the back of my mind the way Julia Child introduced me to French bread baking at home in From Julia Child's Kitchen. She demystified the process and reduced the reader's anxiety by saying, in essence, "Relax. You can stick the dough in the fridge at just about any stage without doing any real damage. Don't sweat it. If you need to pick up the kids, shop for dinner or whatever, just slow the dough down by cooling it." 

If you understand bread pretty well, you know both what you absolutely need to do to make it wonderful and what can be changed without adversely impacting the final product's quality. It's liberating.

Happy baking!

David

kalikan's picture
kalikan

David,

Your bread always looks magnificent!

Out of curiosity, just looking through your latest posts - it looks like you use steam for some of your breads and then DO for others. What is your criteria for choosing one over another? Is it the case of just doing FWSY breads in DO just to follow the written recipe? I don't have any DOs and was wondering if it would be worth investing in a couple of cheaper Lodge DOs (I can't really see a reason to buy one of the higher priced enameled ovens given that bread would probably be the only thing they would be used for)?

Thanks!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your guess is correct. Very occasionally, I use the DO for breads other than those from FWSY and Tartine. And, once, I made a miche from a FWSY formula that was too big for my DO's. 

Unless you plan to use a DO for more than bread, there is no reason to get a fancy one. In fact, bread baking can stain the enamel. I am forbidden from ever again using our Le Creuset DO's for bread baking for that reason. I bought 2 Lodge Combo Cookers. So far, I have only used them for bread baking. Most of the stews/braises I make contain wine, which shouldn't go in a cast iron cooking utensil. I use enameled cast iron a lot, because we really like the kinds of dishes they do so well. And they clean up so easily, which is a big plus.

David

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

containers for baking are two big deep rounded wok/fry pans with their handles removed.  Because they have thick rims, the nicely stack on each other and they were not expensive.  I think I paid about $12 each or less.  The handle stubs make it easy to keep track of any rotation I make in the oven.   I just have to keep a screwdriver in the kitchen.  Baking parchment under a loaf is easy to put in and loaves easy to tip out.  Even when hot.

Joanna Sheldon's picture
Joanna Sheldon

Just came on this while casting about for new ideas on sourdough. (Always a good idea to return to the Fresh Loaf!) Could you tell me how much weight your--gorgeous--bread loses during baking? Thanks! J~

corihal's picture
corihal

Oh my goodness, you've just struck a chord with me.

It's December in southern Ontario.  It's 5 degrees C out and raining.  There's a loaf of Saturday White Bread on my kitchen counter that got mixed at 10 am this morning.   It's inching up slowly, and I plan to bake it sometime later tonight.  I figure that so long as it's rising, it's not done yet.  Your comment about Forkish's Oregon kitchen being different than your California kitchen got me thinking that perhaps your kitchens are completely different from mine.  I have never been able to get my bread to rise in less than five hours during its bulk fermentation unless it's the dead of summer. 

Thank you for the inspiration!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Your message made me smile.

It sounds like Southern Ontario is just like Fresno, CA! It's raining here too! And it's a chilly 51dF.

Short of putting my bowl of dough in an ice bath, there isn't much I can do about an 80dF kitchen in the Summer. However, in the Winter, a proofing box with a heat source is big help.

Happy baking!

David

SeattleStarter's picture
SeattleStarter

I'm new. Great post and I wanted to "like" or "thank".

;)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Happy baking!

David